Tag Archive: songwriting


Dan Roark

I was guest host for Bill Hook at the first Wednesday night Songwriters Showcase/ Open Mic of 2018 on January 3rd at Guitars and Growlers. While it was every other Wednesday in 2017, SS/Open mic is now weekly.

I was getting over a cold

Jade Nickol

that I got for Christmas. I opened the show and made it through two songs before I realized it was time to pass the mic. Jade Nickol took the stage and played her original songs as well as a Stevie Nicks cover.

Remy Reilly, another teenage songwriter, played piano and sang her original songs. She also played a Stevie Nicks cover – since Jade had.

Remy Reilly

Anna DiTommaso took the stage after we got the keyboard off the stage. “I will now play some songs that I definitely didn’t write,” Anna said as she introduced herself. She then did musical justice to four cover songs.

Local songwriter, Alex Benavides, followed DiTommaso. Benavides played his original songs and ended with Country Roads by John Denver and everyone singing along. Karl King played a couple of tunes on harmonica before asking Joe Gerard, who was up next, to join him on stage for a song. The two performed Locomotive Breath by Jethro Tull. Gerard then stayed on stage to play a set of cover songs. Donna Weis closed out the evening with her unique brand of folk music, hearkening back to the ’60s and ’70s.

In all, an interesting musical evening. More pictures will be on my Facebook music page. Join Bill Hook each Wednesday to hear some good songwriters and/or play a few of your songs. Good music, good food, great craft beer selection and friendly staff.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

 

Jason Gibson and Mark Purnell

Now that Christmas is over and I’m finally starting to get over the cold I got for Christmas, it’s time to start catching up.

Jason Gibson and Mark Purnell opened the show at Love and War on December 19th that Shaun Outen and I hosted. They swapped songs as well as accompanying each other. Their set included Don’t Take My Whiskey and One Night Taco Stand.

Cold Multiple & Domestic

Cold Multiple & Domestic took the stage after Gibson and Purnell. The band consists of Craig Fasken, rhythm guitar and vocals, Craig Smith, lead guitar, Michael Levy on bass, and Matt O’Dea on drums. They play rock and roll and blues. And they do it well.

Dan Roark

The band played songs by Old 97s, Bob Seger, and others. Their set also included originals like the one about Pancho Villa. Fasken said that the first two songs they wrote together were blues songs. Then they played Fifteen Years, one of the two songs.

I followed the band and played a few songs, including Waffle House is a Mighty Fortress, and I Got My Ass Kicked in Nashville from my upcoming cd, Hello Out There. Terry Strange followed me and closed out the evening with a set that included his songs, Angel Song,

Terry Strange

and How About the Truth.

It was a great show. Come on out this Tuesday and join Shaun and myself. Come listen or plan to play a few of your songs on TexasSelectRadio.com. Good music, good food, friendly staff. Come join us!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Shelby Ballenger

Shaun Outen and Dan Roark hosted the Songwriters Showcase on November 28 at Love and War in Texas in Plano. I’m a little behind, but it was too good a show not to share.

Shelby Ballenger and Brad Wayne Purdom swapped songs to start the show. Ballenger played her songs Messing With a Cowboy, and Smell the Rain among others. She also played Hank William’s You’re Cheating Heart, and Kris Kristofferson’s Me and Bobby McGee.

Brad Wayne Purdom

Purdom’s “set” included his songs, Gypsy Soul and Bright Light of Day. Brad Wayne also played his song about John Fulbright. He assisted Shelby on lead and harmonica.

Mr. Troll and I took the stage next and swapped songs. Troll played what open mic regulars would refer to as his “greatest hits.” Which obviously included Cry, which is one of my favorites. And of course, Going Nowhere. I played songs from my

Dan Roark

upcoming cd, Hello Out There. Shaun Outen closed out the show with a set of his own tunes mixed with covers.

Check out the links and hear the music for yourself. You won’t regret it. Go see them live when and if you get the chance. You won’t regret that either.

Mr. Troll Mallow

Come out and listen or play on Tuesday’s at Love and War. The heaters and enclosures make it comfortable. Come join us!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Shaun Outen

Bill Hook, Host

Bill Hook, host, opened the Songwriters Night at Guitars and Growlers on Wednesday, November 22. He played his songs, Let’s Dance, Give Me a Chance, and Heartache Blues.

Dan Roark took the stage next and played four songs from his upcoming cd, Hello Out ThereRob Case followed Dan with his signature song, Bayou City – about Houston. Case also played his version of Stormy Monday.

Dan Roark

Bill Nash played next and played four original songs, the last of which was a song with great wordplay, James Dean’s Genes. Alex Benavides played a set of covers with an original. He turned Country Roads into a sing-a-long that everyone enjoyed.

Khalil Coffield

Khalil Coffield just happened to stop in with a couple of friends. He signed up for an impromptu performance. Coffield is a good young songwriter with interesting songs.

Emma and her father were with the fairly large party in front of the stage. Emma put only her first name on the signup sheet. I had to leave without getting her last name. She sang a song or two with the words on her phone and her father playing guitar.

Follow the links and listen to these songwriters yourself. You’ll enjoy the experience. The next time you get a chance, go listen to them perform their songs live. More pictures will be posted on my Facebook music page.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

The night before I returned to Dallas, I returned to Sabor y Cultura in West Hollywood for an open mic with a different host than the week before. Kevin Kelly was the host that evening. Vocally, he sounded like a cross between Neil Diamond and Bruce Springsteen. Yet the lyrics were not as strong.

After Kelly, a rather large woman got up. Kevin asked if either one of us wanted to play next. Then he asked who was next on the list. The women that signed up as Froglegs (formerly Godmother) asked me if I wanted to go first. I said I was good with her going first.

I don’t know if she had words written down somewhere or if she was just winging it. She asked Kevin to accompany her on guitar.

“In what key?”

“A, b, c, d. It doesn’t matter. Just close your eyes and feel the vibe.”

Kelly looked confused, but, like a good host,  he did the best he could do to help. What followed was a mixture of spoken word, opera, country – yodeling included – a little distorted hip-hop, and a healthy (sic) dose of way the hell out there. Kevin valiantly struggled to play something that made sense in the background.

Four minutes later, she brought it to a conclusion. Jimena and I were sitting there dumbfounded. I was hoping my mouth wasn’t hanging open. Froglegs looked straight at us.

“Are you ready for another one?”

I didn’t know how to respond. My thought was “you don’t really want an answer, do you?” But it didn’t matter. She suddenly turned to Kevin and asked if he knew a certain song.

“No,” he replied.

“Okay, let’s go,” Froglegs said, “Just close your eyes and feel the vibe.” And she launched into another song. Kevin played along as best as he could.

After that “song,” she went back to her seat. I went up and played six songs – all but one from my upcoming cd, Hello Out There,  that I was in L.A. to record. The crowd liked my songs. Several people said they wanted my business card so they could look me up on line and buy my music. After I finished my set and put my guitar up, I walked over to pass out cards. I gave one to Froglegs last. She stood up and looked at the card. Then she looked at me. Then back at the card.

“So,” she said, “does this mean I have your permission to go home, go online, listen to your music, and masturbate?

The others in the crowd laughed nervously. This time I know my mouth dropped open. Fortunately, Jimena said Conner was outside, so I said my good-byes and we left. I can honestly say I never saw that coming. Now I have a verse to a song.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

John Mason

New Faces Tuesday at Love and War in Texas on November 7, hosted by Shaun Outen, and sponsored – with a live broadcast – by Texas Select Radio, began about 7:30 with John Mason. His set included the title song of his upcoming cd, Branches and Leaves. Mason also played I Wanna Know – asking why we call coffee “joe.” He switched guitars and ended with Lone Star State.

Cat McGee took the stage next, opening with Summertime. Following with A Place of Their Own, and Coda. Coda and Summertime

Cat McGee

are the first and last song, respectively, of Cat’s recently released EP, ironically called, Don’t Rush Me. McGee ended with Four Guns and a Mercedes.

Dan Roark played his song for those on the autism spectrum, Hello Out There, to begin his set. Peace Be With You – written about the police shootings at the protest in downtown Dallas in the summer of 2016 – came next. Then he played Waffle House is a Mighty Fortress before finishing with I Got My Ass

Dan Roark

Kicked in Nashville.

Dave Ross, touring with Madison Rising, announced that his was an impromptu set because he hadn’t planned on performing. He borrowed Dan Roark’s guitar and started with Stormy Monday. He followed with two of Bob Dylan’s songs and one of his own about his daughter when she was about two years old.

Host Shaun Outen closed out the evening’s music. Beginning with Wear My Ring, by Bart Crow, his set also included his own single from a couple of years ago, All I Saw Was a Flash. He concluded with Holding Her and Loving You, and the Willie Nelson tune, Me and Paul.

New Faces Tuesday is always a good time for music at Love and War in Texas in Plano. Come on at and have something to eat on the heated patio while you listen to the performers. Or bring your guitar or instrument of choice and get your time on stage.

More pictures will be on my Facebook music page.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Dan at a previous showcase.

Before we get to Raphael’s, we’ll get to the heads up. I headed up to Denton for the open mic at LSA Burger Co. I had called earlier to make sure they had it before I drove all the way up there. I scored a parking place in front. But my positive vibes were short-lived.

It turns out the “open mic” is booked through Dec. 4. Not only am I damned if I can figure out how an open mic can be booked that far in advance, but LSA has nothing about the open mic on it’s website or Facebook page. So there’s the heads up – moving on.

Since I was up that way anyway, I left my prime parking spot to the guy stopping traffic because he really, really wanted it, and drove out to Raphael’s Mexican Restaurant in Aubrey to play at the open mic. Which is hosted by Shaun Outen and is live on Texas Select Radio. It’s actually more of a showcase than an open mic.

They were getting started when I arrived. Kaleb McIntire was beginning his set. Fiddle player, Billy Western was

Kaleb McIntire and Billy Western

playing with him. Western has played with a variety of country performers as back up or studio musician. McIntire played a good set of varied country covers. From Merle Haggard to Waylon Jennings and so on. Mixed in were a few of his original songs. Follow the link for his music. I couldn’t understand what he was saying for the noise at the bar. But the songs sounded good – it was easier to understand the words of the song. Catch Kaleb and/or his band when you have a chance.

I took the stage and got ready to begin my set. This wasn’t my first time to play to a loud audience. I’d rather not mention how long ago that was. Suffice it to say, it didn’t surprise me.

If you know me and my music, you know that I have quiet, softer songs and then loud, often comedic, songs. When I play to a noisy crowd, I take it as a personal challenge to get them to pay attention. The finger picks stay in the pocket and it’s all systems go.

It started off a little rough. The Aardvark Song and John Prine song, Paradise, barely phased them. Waffle House is a Mighty Fortress got their attention. I had them with I Got My Ass Kicked in Nashville.

So that’s my musical prescription for a loud crowd. Keep pounding and don’t give up. Just remember – you have the microphone.

Keep on writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Last night I went to Bedford for the Movie Tavern micro music festival. Dillon Moses was the host. They also have a micro music festival at the Movie Tavern in Denton on Thursday. With every performer playing four to six songs, and a relaxed atmosphere, it really was more like a micro music festival.

I seemed to be the only one who wasn’t from the “neighborhood.” There’s some good, young, local talent in the area judging from what I saw and heard.  We entertained the crowd having a few drinks before their showing of Thor came around.

I usually have a standing appointment on Thursday nights. It was called off for this week, so I headed to Bedford. With a recording session in LA coming up next week, I figure I can’t practice too much and there is no better way of doing it than playing an open mic, micro music festival, showcase, or the like. My plan is to play tonight at Mex-Go on Central in Allen. Then the LSA Burger Co. open mic in Denton on Monday, New Faces Tuesday at Love and War in Texas, Plano in the heated patio, and Songwriters Night at Guitars and Growlers in Richardson on Wednesday.

Then home to get ready for an early morning flight on Thursday that will begin ten days in LA. Which will include eight shows – a mixture of open mics and showcases – with an eye for setting up shows for a future trip. It will also include six days in the studio – an entire post in itself.

So come on out and join me at any of the places I’m playing through Wednesday. Come to listen or play. They’ve all got good food and drinks.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Dan Roark

The Poor David’s Pub open mic on Monday, October 23 was one of those magical musical nights when you should have been there.

Guest host, Dan Roark, welcomed everyone at 7:30. He played his set of upbeat tunes and the songwriting talent never slowed down. John Mason followed the host. His set, played on his newly acquired Taylor guitar, included the title song from his upcoming cd, Branches and Leaves.

John Mason

Harry Hewlett took the stage next with his west Texas country, including a song about the effects of drinking Everclear. Called, oddly enough, Everclear. Cat McGee, with her hypnotic voice, followed Harry with her music consisting of stories she tells so well through song.

Laurelle and 3ple were the first featured act. They began the Make It Change tour in New York and the two musical friends are traveling across the country to California and back. Based on the saying that you can do nothing or you can make it change. The two are doing what they can as they play in various cities. With tracks on computer, and 3ple  on guitar, Lourelle sings her soulful music with a positive spin. They played a delightful set of inspiring, toe-tapping, heart filling music.

3ple and Laurelle

Keith Crow played his homespun songs for the audience, which included members of his family. Tracy Allen followed with a set of nice cover songs. Monk played his introspective, stories and lessons from life, songs that leave you with no doubt about how he felt at the time. His set included What’d I Say and My Mom. Rob Case followed Monk and played songs from Last Call in Texas, such as Bayou City.

Joe Cat was the second featured artist. Joe hails from Athens, Georgia, where he works the first half of the month and tours the last half. He writes songs of the heartland and the working man. He just released his new cd, Preaching Drunk, which he is working on putting out in vinyl.

Joe Cat

On one of his previous visits to Poor David’s, Joe was caught up in the spirit of the occasion and said that the PDP open mic was the only one he played anymore. I published a post on the show and quoted him. “I have to be careful what I say in front of Dan,” he said last Monday, before he told the story. “A host of an open mic called me up and asked, “You don’t play open mics anymore.”” “I said, No, wait!” He went on to play a number of his earthy songs including two of my favorites, America’s Best and Silver Thread City. He played Red Hawk from Preachin’ Drunk, which includes Americas’s Best. Follow the link and check out his music.

Scott Thornton took the stage after Joe Cat. Scott played his music that seems to be stream of consciousness at times. His songs are spiritual observations of what is happening in the world. You certainly seem to be at peace listening to him.

Craig Langford closed out the evening with his country songs that take you to the places and times he sings about. With a distinct unique voice that adds to the effect. Check his music out for yourself.

In fact do yourself a favor and check everyone’s music out. And go out and support live music. More pictures will be on my Facebook music page.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart. Peace be with you.

You were not happy when you didn’t have shows booked for Friday and Saturday. But you thought it was a good thing when you came down with a cold because the weather was changing. You feel better Monday and feel like you can play. Whether it’s a gig or an open mic, you’re ready to get out and play. You order a glass of water with your beer – because you usually do and, well, you’re not stupid.

Then you get called to play before you’re ready. In the middle of your routine, as it were. You take your water with you. You tuned your guitar as soon as you knew you’d be playing. But it’s outside on the patio and you’re praying it stays in tune – which it usually does. But you keep checking to make sure.

You start the first song and your voice sounds better than you thought it would. Then about the third line you realize that moisture is escaping from your mouth in rapid fashion. Just before you hit the chorus, you feel a frog crawling up your throat. Well, not quite a frog really – more like one of those little frogs that used to be as prevalent in a backyard as fireflies, but you don’t see them much any more.

You turn your mouth away from the mic – hoping it’s quick and quiet – while still keeping the rhythm going. You recover in time to start the chorus – maybe a beat late. You finish the song with only a couple of incidents.

You keep drinking water. As each successive song goes by, you begin to think you’re going to pull it off. As the water begins to run out, you take a chance and push it a little, getting a little louder. You finish with another loud song. Fortunately, no one heard the coughs and gurgles.

The crowd enjoyed it and you leave the stage to get more water – hoping you didn’t do any damage to your vocal cords. The time I refer to was not too bad. Unfortunately, other times have not gone as well.

What is your “show must go on” story?

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

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